Americans love pets. In fact, over 70% of US households have pets. That’s why it’s important for HOAs to have clear and established pet policies to help and guide their residents in maintaining peace and harmony in the community,
These pet policies commonly include:
1. Pet Registration
Registrations enable HOAs to keep track of the domestic animals in their community and implement pet rules.
Many HOAs require new residents to fill in a pet application form before moving in. For current residents, it should be imperative that they submit an application form before acquiring a new pet.
Some HOAs also require pet DNA testing and registry. The DNA information is typically used to identify pet owners who did not clean up after their pets.
2. Allowed Pet Types
HOAs may restrict pet ownership based on the following: number of pets per household or square footage of the home, what species are allowed (HOAs may be liable for permitting dangerous animals and breeds within the community), and height and weight limits
Associations can also have limitations on whether residents can keep, breed, and use for commercial purposes.
While an HOA may have the right to ban all kinds of pets in the community, they cannot ban a resident from having a lawful service animal as stated in federal housing and disability protection laws. Thus, HOAs should have special instructions for service or assistance animals.
3. Pet Hygiene and Health
To uphold the appearance and health of the community (both humans and animals), pets should be well-groomed and free from pests, especially when they’re out of the house and in common areas.
HOAs typically have regulations on pet spaying and neutering, including special cases in which the veterinarian advises against it. They also track on pets’ annual rabies vaccinations.
4. Waste Cleanup
Animal waste in common areas that is not properly disposed brings down the appeal of the community and poses serious health risks to the residents and other pets. Sadly, animal waste is a very common problem in pet-friendly associations.
The HOA must require all pet-owners to pick up and clean after their pets. Pet waste should be properly disposed of in trash cans designated by the HOA. Fines can be levied on homeowners who do not observe proper waste cleanup.
If you have enlisted the help of a pet DNA registry company, you can send them a waste sample to identify the pet and fine the owner.
5. Nuisance Behavior
HOAs have regulations about nuisance behavior from pets that can potentially disturb the peace in the community and cause complaints from neighbors.
Nuisance behavior includes persistent barking or incessant noise (day or night), relieving on common areas, and unruliness that can cause personal injury and property damage.
The pet not being leashed or put in a pet carrier and supervised by a human companion in common areas (except the dog park) is also considered a nuisance behavior. HOAs also commonly have guidelines on acceptable lengths of pet leashes.
6. Liability Policy
HOAs should establish a clear liability policy for all pet owners in the community. This holds homeowners accountable for the actions of their pets and the pests of their guests who stay in their house.
Having a liability policy protects the association in case the pet causes personal injury, property damage, or extreme disturbance in the community as well as probable costly legal proceedings should there be any.
Photos by Angela Litvin, Mikhail Vasilyev, and Sarah Brown on Unsplash